Hi I’m Colin and I have made marketry pictures from my own sketches and designs,
so they are original. I have been practicing for thirty years, so I think that I
have nearly got the hang of it.
Marketry is inlaid work using exotic wood veneers of contrasting colours set
into base veneers for decoration – traditionally on furniture or boxes. It has
existed for hundreds of years and was once widely produced in Europe and the Far
East. Marketry can be viewed as an old-fashioned craft, but I like to promote it
in a modern way as Art.
I like to draw and marketry is suitable to develop from my black and white
drawings, as there are only limited shades of brown to work with in wood veneers
– although they can be coloured with stains.
I use the window method of picture construction, which is like making a puzzle,
cutting out the shapes (to fit) as you go along. This involves drawing a tracing
of the design onto a light base veneer – usually sycamore or maple, then cutting
out the individual shapes and placing different coloured veneers into the
opening. When I have selected a veneer of appropriate colour or marking, I then
use the cut opening as a template to cut out the shape in the new veneer with a
sharp scalpel. Then I edge glue the new piece into place with balso-cement and
move onto other areas gradually building up a jigsaw of pieces to form the final
When completed, after this long time-consuming process, I can cover with paper
tape to hold the 2mm thick construction in place. This can then be glued to a
backboard of MDF or ply with Evostick impact adhesive – sometimes a tricky
The picture is then sanded smooth with various grades of sandpaper and cleaned
off with methylated spirit to remove all of the traces of glue. Any small splits
or blemishes can be repaired at this stage. A couple of coats of sanding seal
are then applied and a wax furniture polish can then be rubbed into the final
finish – which is very satisfying. It is now ready to be framed and displayed
and should last a long time with just an occasional buffing with a duster.
I hope that you can now appreciate some of the skills that have gone into the
process and the production of my marketries. Please enjoy my work.
Colin Miles' art gallery »